SRINAGAR: Any person who studied in Pakistan will not be eligible to seek employment or undertake higher studies in India, said the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) in a public notice on Saturday.
Discouraging Indian students from going to the neighbouring country for education, the notice said that educational qualifications acquired in Pakistan could not be used for seeking jobs in India.
“All concerned are advised not to travel to Pakistan to perusing higher education. Any Indian national/overseas citizen of India who intends to make admission in any degree/college/educational institution of Pakistan shall not be eligible for seeking employment or higher studies in India on the basis of such educational qualifications (in any subject) acquired in Pakistan,” the notice reads.
However, migrants and their children who have acquired higher education degrees in Pakistan and have been awarded citizenship by India would be eligible for seeking employment in India after obtaining security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), it said.
The notice will be effective across the country including Jammu and Kashmir. It was, however, immediately not clear whether the directive will apply to future degrees or also to those obtained earlier.
For over two decades, the Pakistan government has been giving a special quota for the students of Jammu and Kashmir in all its professional courses, especially medical and engineering.
Students from Jammu and Kashmir are broadly classified into two categories in Pakistan: a) those applying for admission under foreign student seats through Pakistan’s ministry of education, and b) the students applying for admission under the scholarship programme.
Those applying through foreign student seats need to pay the normal fee that any foreign student pays. However, under the scholarship programme, students are provided 100 per cent scholarship and free accommodation.
The students, whose parents or close relatives were terrorists and killed by security forces in Kashmir, are given preference for seats under the scholarship programme in Pakistan, move security experts believe is aimed at further promoting terrorism and anti-India sentiments in the Valley.
Every year, around 50 students go to Pakistan under the scholarship programme for the MBBS course alone while a similar number of students get admission in other courses. These students are allotted different colleges in Pakistan.
Pertinently, two years ago, the resignation of Syed Ali Shah Geelani from the Hurriyat Conference as its lifetime chairman brought the spotlight on the sale of medical seats in Pakistan.
In his letter dissociating himself from the Hurriyat Conference, Geelani had accused its Muzaffarabad chapter of open rebellion and financial irregularities.
Over the years, there have been allegations that some separatist leaders, especially in Pakistan, are demanding monetary benefits from the students before issuing them a recommendation letter and the basic criteria set by the Pakistan government are being flouted. There were allegations that even wards of some police officers have managed recommendation letters from the separatist leaders.
In 2019, another controversy surfaced when the National Board of Examination refused to allow a student to take a foreign medical graduate examination/screening test, mandatory for any Indian who obtains a medical degree from a foreign country.
Notably, the Special Investigation Agency (SIA) of Jammu and Kashmir Police had filed its first charge sheet against nine people, including a Hurriyat leader, in a case related to the sale of MBBS seats in Pakistan to Kashmiri students and using the money to support and fund terrorism, officials said on Thursday.
The case was registered by the Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK), a branch of the police’s CID, in July last year after receiving information through reliable sources that several unscrupulous people, including some Hurriyat leaders, were hand in glove with some educational consultancies and were selling Pakistan-based MBBS seats and seats in other professional courses in colleges and universities.
The CIK, which has been designated as the SIA, filed its charge sheet before a court against Mohammad Akbar Bhat alias Zaffar Akbar Bhat, the chairman of Salvation Movement, a constituent of the hardline Hurriyat Conference.
Others named in the chargesheet are Abdul Jabbar, Fatima Shah, Altaf Ahmad Bhat Qazi Yasir, Mohammad Abdullah Shah, Sabzar Ahmad Sheikh, Manzoor Ahmad Shah, Syed Khalid Geelani and Mohd Iqbal Mir of Mahaz Azadi Front.
During the investigation, SIA had said, oral, documentary and technical evidence was collected and in analysis, it surfaced that MBBS and other professional degree-related seats were preferentially given to those students who were close family members or relatives of killed terrorists, they said.
Evidence had also come on record to show that money had been put into channels that ended up supporting programmes and projects pertaining to terrorism and separatism, which included the unrest after the killing of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen terror group, in 2016.
The money was also used in failed efforts to disrupt peace after the abrogation of the erstwhile state’s special status in August 2019.
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